WNBA coaches Hammon, Brondello to make history in Finals

WNBA Finals: Former Players Coaching Battle Emerges

Join the Vegas Aces and New York Liberty for the highly anticipated WNBA Finals this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, exclusively on ABC and ESPN App. The coaching showdown between Becky Hammon and Sandy Brondello will mark a 26-year journey, a first-ever as two former players coach their teams to the championship series. Reflecting the league’s embrace of former players as coaches, the pair’s success is a testament to the notable diversity coaching initiative, increasing the league’s assistant coaches with historical playing experience.

Both Hammon and Brondello, previous WNBA titleholders, have had their reputation upheld with their triumphant coaching careers. Their careers intertwined significantly in San Antonio. Backed by Dan Hughes, an advocate for former players on the sidelines, Brondello started her tenure with Hammon in San Antonio after retiring as a player. Brondello’s call expressing her desire to become a coach led to her hiring, satisfying Hughes’ pre-existing commitment to bring in former players as coaches.

Hammon, with her unwavering leadership on the court, quickly convinced Hughes of her potential to transition into a coaching role. Just as she did with Brondello, Hughes saw Hammon’s transition to coaching as a natural progression, pinning his hopes on her intuitive understanding of the game.

Following an inspiring season with the San Antonio Spurs staff post her retirement, Hammon was propelled to head coach the Aces, a significant move that led to them clinching the 2022 title. Guided by similar offensive acumen, Hughes acknowledged a unique basketball synergy between Hammon and Brondello, intertwining their respective strengths. As the WNBA continues to see an increase in former players transitioning into coaching roles, the future seems ripe for more rivals-turned-coaches to emerge.

As the league finds its footing with former players stepping into the coaching arena, the WNBA anticipates an influx of exceptional athletes entering the coaching fold. Taking into account the league’s progress so far, it won’t be long before Brondello and Hammon are joined by a new generation of competitors in the coaching ranks.

A noted trend of former players securing coaching roles followed an evolutionary trajectory, marking a subtle yet pivotal transition for the WNBA. As the league enters an exciting new chapter, it’s evident that the potential for significant growth and development is on the horizon.


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